Cameroon coach Paul Le Guen reminded his demoralised team on Wednesday it was a privilege to be at the FIFA World Cup™ as he rallied them ahead of their clash with the Netherlands. After losing to Denmark and Japan, Cameroon go into Thursday's game in Cape Town with only pride left to play for and Le Guen made clear he expected nothing less than a professional performance.
"It's difficult to get players motivated when you have been eliminated," said the Frenchman, who coached Lyon to three league titles. "But that's our job. They have to remember that. They may be disappointed, it hurts, but it is still a privilege for them to be doing what they are doing as footballers. We must stand strong and do our job."
Le Guen, who has been tipped to take over from Pim Verbeek as Australia coach after the tournament, was keen to ram home his point, saying that even though Cameron had lost two games, their pride was on the line.
"Of course it is an important match for us, for me," he said. "The stadium will be full, the television audience will be there. It has to do with our image and prestige. We are under the shock of two defeats. Last Saturday [against Denmark] it was very painful. It's a matter of getting our heads up again. We need to fight with dignity and honour and defend the colours of Cameroon till the last minute."
Whatever the players' state of mind, one thing is for sure - Le Guen will make changes with Kaiserslautern midfielder Georges Mandjeck and Ajax star Enoh Eyong injured. He would not reveal his line-up and instead chose to focus on how good the Dutch team were.
"They are very good, they have many, many talented players," he said. "They are used to playing big games in big clubs. I have a lot of respect for Holland. They are one of the standouts of the tournament. It will be a tough game for us and that's why we must be ready to fight."
The Dutch, who have been convincing in beating Denmark 2-0 and Japan 1-0, need to collect just a point to top Group E.